New member with some 53 wagon questions


Knuckle Buster
Jan 7, 2010
Willys Model
Willys Year:
Hi all,
I am not new to forums like this, OR working on vehicles, I have an off-road beast built from a Ford Explorer.

I am actually here on behalf of my father in law, who "has no use for computers".

He has asked me to help him out with a project, which is a 4x4 1953 Willys Wagon. I have not seen it yet, but he claims it needs an engine and tranny. My research seems to indicate that stock drivetrains are not easily available but I would like to help him get this thing going if I can.
-Is there an alternate drivetrain that is a good swap option for this vehicle? (most important question, and hopefully will retain the 4x4 ability)
-In pictures of other 53s it looks as though the front axle is a driver's side drop (pumpkin on driver's side) -Is that correct?

If we get rolling on it I promise some pics soon...

looks like somehow we missed your intro when you first posted. Sorry about that!

Welcome !
Imposter71 said:
looks like somehow we missed your intro when you first posted. Sorry about that!

Welcome !

I'll second that... :cheers:

Welcome...the pumpkin should be on the passenger side...I'm replacing my drive train, so out goes the transfer case, tranny and overdrive with the adapter for a small block chev, As far as the new drive train anything you feel comfortable doing yourself or paying someone else. Read some of these post, there are members here who have great skills...I have learned plenty here. Good luck, sounds like a great project....saving a Willys.
Pumkin should be on the Right, As said before me About any thing can be made to work, My truck has been, Chev 307 to stock t90/d18. the T90 did not last,Then 307 ,Saginaw 4sp ,dana 18, Then 307 TH350/np203, Now 327, SM465, np208, Engine mounts Exhaust and driveshaftsare what will need Changing
The ORIGINAL Willys Wagon front axle, Dana 25 - 4.27 ratio, the pumpkin is on the Dana 44 axle from a Intl Scout is on the right and will be hooked to a Dana 300 Transfer Case....left - right....who cares... except the transfer case. :lol: I've heard the T90 driven properly should work OK behind the SBC...but as you now know, sometimes it doesn't...what a great hobby we have...But my knowledge on all this comes from members here...
"I've heard the T90 driven properly should work OK behind the SBC"----
-It does, just not for long
Welcome to the group.

If your father-in-law would like to put original in I don't think you would have all that much trouble finding drivetrain parts to do it. It might take a little looking and rebuilding but the parts are out there. I think I could probably put one or two spare drivetrains together with bits a buddy and I have, and there are some others here planning to pull original DTs and update as well. I think what he decides to do should have more to do with what he wants in the end. Drivability or originality. :)
First off, Thanks for all the replies! Been tied up with work so haven't had a chance to check if there were any.
this is a good start anyway, and gives me some options.
Dear old dad is not neccessarily worried about a stock restoration, and would prefer more power.
He actually pictures it sitting lower than stock and having more power.

I got a problem with that because I feel when you lower, 4x4 is extraeneous, so I am gunna suggest if he wants to lower that we ditch the 4x4 as an option, but I am gunna fight for stock height and/or slight lift in order to retain off-road drivability.

Anyway, thanks again, I`ll hang out and let y`all know how it turns out.